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— W.C.U.N — Pittsburgh!!

THE AMBULANCE (1990) Dir. Larry Cohen. Written by Larry Cohen. Starring: Eric Roberts, James Earl Jones, Megan Gallagher, Red Buttons, Janine Turner, and Stan Lee.

You'll be in perfect health . . . before you die. 

Before my latest re-watch of this forgotten Larry Cohen gem my main memories of the film were of James Earl Jones laying in the middle of the street obsessively and loudly chewing gum - one of the weirdest death scenes in film - and an out of control gurney slalom with Eric Roberts screaming his way through NYC traffic, dodging certain death and Oscar glory at every turn. After my rewatch these are still my two main memories of the film, but there's thankfully some connective tissue there too. Roberts is an only slightly less skeevy version of his character in everything post Star 80 with a beautiful Vidal Sassoon mullet and designer trenchcoats who works alongside Stan fucking Lee creating Wolverine!!! But that's beside the point because Roberts meets a girl in the opening scene, badgers her relentlessly for a date then witnesses her slip into an apparent diabetic coma right there on the street and he still hasn't gotten her number! When an EMT team in an old school ambulance shows up to ferry her away to the nearest hospital Roberts finds himself totally dumbfounded when shortly after the first one pulls away, another modern ambulance shows up. Did some sinister group disguised as EMT's just kidnap his girl? So begins The Ambulance and Roberts outrageous journey to get a phone number. A few pesky character and background scenes aside, Roberts spends the rest of the movie as the most helpful stalker ever, tracking the girl down, uncovering conspiracies, facing off with street toughs and enduring both Red Buttons and the aforementioned gurney slalom of death. Is it blasphemy to admit this may be my favorite Cohen film? I mean, I love me some Stuff and God Told Me To is one of kind weirdness, and Q the Winged Serpent . . . and It's Alive, and - well, yeah I guess it is blasphemy, but true none the less. Check it out.  

 

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